The Solicitor General has argued, Congress may prohibit such persons as idiots, imbeciles, felons, and children from possessing any firearm whatsoever. Id. at 25-26. While the Second Amendment would not absolutely preclude exclusions, it does prohibit them if they rest upon the constitutionally impermissible ground of unfitness. Exclusions may only be based upon the foundation that the class of persons excluded are not art of the constituent “people” — i.e., those persons ho have authority to constitute and reconstitute the government — being either incapable of giving the requisite consent to be governed, such as children, or having forfeited their civil rights, such as a convicted violent felon. According to the republican political philosophy underpinning the Second Amendment, whether a person is “trained” in the use of a firearm, and thus fit to possess it, is a matter of self government, not subject to any fitness regulation of the government.
Herbert W. Titus
Gun Owners of America
Brief amicus curiae in D.C. v. Heller.
February 11, 2008